EPL: Rooney-less Everton hold Chelsea

The Blues had a few efforts saved off the line and opposition keeper Jordan Pickford also produced two big saves for a Toffees side without a shot on target to their name

Chelsea failed to make the most of their chances as they were held to a goalless draw by Everton in Saturday afternoon’s Premier League clash at Goodison Park.
The Blues had a few efforts saved off the line and opposition keeper Jordan Pickford also produced two big saves for a Toffees side without a shot on target to their name.
The Toffees were without in-form forward Wayne Rooney, who missed the game due to illness, while Blues boss Antonio Conte brought in Antonio Rudiger for Gary Cahill in the only change from his side’s last league outing.
Pedro got away an early shot that ended narrowly wide of the target, but Chelsea’s pressure slowly started to tell and Phil Jagielka was twice needed to block attempts off the line.
Marcos Alonso’s volleyed drive was blocked into the path of Tiemoue Bakayoko who, along with Willian from the follow-up, was denied by a well-positioned Jagielka.
Moments after Tom Davies had got away a rare home shot, which was dragged wide of the target, Chelsea again got bodies forward and Bakayoko – growing in presence as the match went on – slipped the ball through for Pedro.
The Spaniard made good contact with the angle against him, but Everton goalkeeper Pickford was equal to it by producing a big stop.
Toffees boss Allardyce, clearly unhappy with his side’s first-half showing, made a double change at the break and altered system.
Almost immediately after the restart, though, Chelsea again created two good openings as Pedro’s shot was saved by Pickford down low and Alonso struck the rebound into substitute defender Ashley Williams on the line.
Allardyce was forced into making his third change with 51 minutes on the clock, replacing the injured Idrissa Gueye with Beni Baningime, and that did little to help the hosts find their rhythm.
The Blues, now defeated just once in the last nine meetings between these sides, continued to probe away as Eden Hazard tested Pickford down low with his weaker left foot from 22 yards out.
Everton have netted a club-record tally of 47 Premier League goals on home soil in 2017, though holding on for a point was their main priority as the final 15 minutes arrived.
Williams turned Victor Moses’s cross onto his own crossbar, while Fabregas and Hazard also came close with their efforts as the Blues knocked on the door for a late winner.
The Toffees could have pulled off the ultimate smash-and-grab in added time, however, only for Michael Keane to send his header over the crossbar from close range.